Secure the trailer before beginning work. The rear wheels of the trailer must be securely chocked before entering the trailer with the forklift.
How to Load Semi-Trailers With a Forklift
Things You'll Need:
Secure the trailer before beginning work. The rear wheels of the trailer must be securely chocked before entering the trailer with the forklift. If no tractor is attached, a nose jack should be placed under the front of the trailer to prevent tipping. Once the trailer is secure the dock plate can be placed between the trailer and dock to provide a smooth secure surface for the forklift to travel on. The forklift operator must inspect the trailer to be certain the floor will hold the weight of the load, the forklift and the operator. The trailer should also be inspected for any debris, which may damage the forklift or the cargo being loaded.
Calculate the size of your load. Before beginning the loading process you must make certain how the load will be configured. The standard load is palletized on 48-inch by 40-inch wooden pallets. Depending on the weight and make-up of the cargo, these can sometimes be double stacked inside the trailer to accommodate more cargo. Semi-trailers can be 45 feet up to 53 feet in length. At times it may be necessary to pin-wheel the pallets to maximize the cargo space. In pin-wheeling every other pallet is turned sideways, alternating between rows. In this manner two pallets will be a total of 88 inches rather than 96 inches. On a trailer which can accommodate rows of 12 pallets, this will allow for an additional 6 feet on the rear of the trailer, or enough space for two additional pallets.
Drive the forklift onto the trailer, remaining in the center of the trailer as long as possible. Begin by placing one pallet in the front corner of the trailer. The second pallet will be placed just beside the first. Repeat this pattern until the trailer is filled. Always carry the load as low as possible and drive at a safe speed. Semi-trailer walls are very thin and can be easily damaged. Be aware of the pallet as well as the forks of the machine when placed pallets against other cargo. The pallet or protruding fork can puncture and damage cargo. Always cross the dock plate at a reduced speed and watch for pedestrians or other vehicle traffic when exiting the trailer.
Secure the load before closing the trailer doors. If your cargo is stacked to the rear of the trailer, and especially if it is double stacked, you must be certain to secure the load from shifting. Should the load shift during transport it could fall from the trailer when the doors are opened, resulting in a very hazardous situation. When the load is secure, remove the dock plate, wheel chocks and nose jack. The trailer is now ready to be transported.